Would They Be Amused?

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Star Street W2 7.04

In my ‘Farringdon and Paddington’ post of two days ago, I featured a view of the Paddington Basin Development from Praed Street. Here is one from Star Street W2. Several million pounds, even then, was required to purchase one of the top floor apartments. Perhaps the terra cotta arcs are an attempt to remain in keeping with the chimney pots of the older terraces. Central Wash laundrette is still in business at 17 Star Street.

This photograph is the first of a batch of a dozen Streets of London series colour slides from July 2004, that I scanned today. Star Street lies parallel and between the equally parallel Praed Street and Sussex Gardens, the latter of which form a rectangle with Edgware and Bayswater Roads. This contains a network of smaller streets

Porchester Place W2 7.04

one of which is Porchester Place W2. This is of course part of the London Borough of Westminster, prepared to spend money on hanging baskets in honour of its visitors.

Connaught Square W2 7.04

Another is Connaught Square W2, leading  to Hyde Park Square where, 3 years on, I was to take out a nightmare rental, the story of which is told in AAARGH!

Seymour Street/Connaught Square W2 7.04

Seymour Street W2 crosses Edgware Road, and runs through Portman Square to Wigmore Street. What, I wondered, was this woman’s relationship with the child in the buggy.

Dunraven Street/North Row W1 7.04

Dunraven Street W1 lies parallel to Park Lane. North Row runs alongside Oxford Street. Marble Arch is very nearby, beyond the Big Bus Company‘s tour transport. The trees are in Hyde Park. I’m not sure who the uniformed gent represents.

Park Street W1 7.04

A major refurbishment was underway in whichever this was of the streets crossed by Park Street W1, and leading directly into Park Lane.

Adam's Row W1 7.04

Park Street leads us into the heart of Mayfair with its splendid buildings viewed here from Adam’s Row. Six months ago you could rent a 1 bedroom flat in Adam’s Row for £4,225 per calendar month. That was on the first floor of a period coach house., in other words not one of the grand apartments on view in this picture.

Carlos Place W1 7.04

The Historic England website contains this listed building entry description of 2-8 Carlos Place, W1:  “A quadrant block of houses 1891-93 by J E Trollope of Giles, Gough and Trollope. Red brick with lavish Portland stone dressings, slate roofs. Free English/Flemish Renaissance style. Four storeys, basement and attic storey with dormers and shaped and straight gables. Effective rhythm of canted bay windows through storeys, balustraded parapets and gables, enlivened on alternate houses by bands of carved brick Renaissance decorative ornament. The canted bays, with mullioned lights and glazing bars and leading, are in some cases capped with ogee copper roofs. Semicircular arched and recessed porches. No 8 has a polygonal bay window to corner and a 2 storey rear wing the upper part timber framed. Basement areas have ornamental cast iron railings. Panelled stone and brick chimney stacks prominent on ridge of roof. Part of the 1880s-90s rebuilding of Mount Street for the Grosvenor Estate. Prominent corner site.” Renting a three bedroomed apartment here would set you back upwards of £10,000 per calendar month.

Mount Street Mews W1 7.04

On 22 September last year Stephanie Hirschmiller in The Daily Telegraph described Mount Street, Mayfair as “one of London’s most stylish destinations….home to a plethora of luxurious boutiques and restaurants with global acclaim.” One of these establishments is Delfino Pizzeria on the corner of number 1 and Mount Street Mews W1. Would Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, whose busts look down onto these streets, I wonder, be amused at all this?

Jones Street W1 7.04

All I know about nearby Jones Street W1, is that it is not in Greenwich Village.

Hay Hill, W1 is as steep as it looks. The gentleman in the first picture is striding into Dover Street, where can be seen both the elegantly restrained window display of the corner antique shop, and a reflection of another across the road. The Club for Business at 12 Hay Hill claims that:

“Hay Hill has a history of good fortune

Beau Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency London. On an early summer’s morning in 1813, Beau was lamenting a run of bad luck, which had led him close to destitution. Wandering around the corner of Berkeley Square towards Hay Hill, he saw something glistening on the floor. It was a crooked sixpence. He took the coin home, drilled a hole in it, and attached it to his watch chain. Almost overnight, his fortune changed and the penny became his good luck charm and he always looked fondly on Hay Hill.

“Whilst at 12 Hay Hill we believe you make your own fortune, we hope that a bit of good luck from the place where Beau found his sixpence won’t do our members any harm…””

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, wild rice, onion bahjis, and parathas, with which I finished the Shiraz.

“They Aren’t Going To Fly Away”

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This morning we took a trip back to Gordleton Barn to measure a door I had photographed on our last trip in the hope that it might be suitable to replace our inner front door I don’t like. It was too thick.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the last 48 hours let up only briefly this morning, but we went for a forest drive anyway.

Ponies in mist

Damp ponies, such as these at Wootton, continued to feed on the misty moors,

Pool and reflection

Whilst I was engrossed in photographing the soggy terrain,

Pony in bushes

I glimpsed something among the trees that looked a different brown than the bracken.

It turned out to be a pony brunching on holly.

Lunches

This gave us the idea of lunching at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My choice was steak and ale pie, chips, Savoy cabbage, carrots and peas. Just look at that gravy; and the wedges supplied with Jackie’s macaroni cheese, bacon, and salad.

Gents

I visited the gents which was, of course, situated at the end of the platform.

Lion sculpture

The harmless looking lions atop the entrance pillars wore lichen masks.

It was in Braggers Lane at Thorney Hill that I became rather mean to a string of be-rugged horses. Stopping to photograph pools leading to a five-barred gate, I noticed these animals far away beside distance trees. Seeing me lean on the gate they scrambled over to me, no doubt expecting to be fed.

Horse in rug

There was no such luck, and they looked somewhat forlorn as they watched me return to the car.

Cattle

Cattle in a field alongside Thatchers Lane at Sopley melded rather well with the subdued landscape.

Heron

There is a deep ditch along this road. It is now well topped up, and clearly held much attraction for the heron that burst from it every time we approached, flew a bit further, and disappeared down below. Despite keen tracking, I was unable to get a decent shot in. eventually it took off across a field and dropped from sight. We then passed a stream flowing at right angles to the ditch. Sure enough, some distance ahead, was our happy quarry. Alongside the stream ran a footpath. I took it. At last the bird sprang out from the undergrowth and presented me with my final opportunity. This was it. Jackie’s message to my readers is: “That took a lot of effort.”

We crossed from Thatchers Lane into Fish Street at Avon. After a while, Jackie stopped suddenly, backed up a bit, then came to a halt. “They aren’t going to fly away”, she exclaimed. “What is that?”, I asked, peering at a grey mass behind a thorn hedge. “An emu” she replied. These birds, of course, cannot fly. Never having seen one before, I was intrigued by the motion of their necks, as they mimicked the movement of a snake charmer’s cobra, curling low in an arc then stretching upright and repeating the dance.

It will come no surprise to anyone who has seen our lunch that all we required this evening was a small slice of pizza with which I drank a little more Shiraz.

Farringdon And Paddington

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This morning I scanned another dozen colour slides from the Streets of London series, produced in July 2004.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 1

Clerkenwell Road EC1 was featured on 15th January. These were probably pictured at the same time as the first ones. I swear I had no idea what was being advertised in the Jack posters. Intensive Internet research informs me that this was a magazine for gentlemen of a more intellectual bent than most. 2004 was its final year of publication.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 2

The church in the second shot is that of St. James. From about 1100 to 1539, when it fell foul of King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, St. Mary’s nunnery stood on the site. Grafted onto the remains of the nunnery church in 1540, the place of worship, after several alterations, was rebuilt in the18th century, being dedicated in 1792. That is the building you see today. It is not, in fact, attempting to emulate the leaning tower of Pisa, but the width of this shot distorted the image so that I had to choose between the circular structure in the foreground and the more distant church to straighten.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 3

This view is a little further down the road. Here is a link to Susannah Hall’s website: https://susannahhall.com

Clerkenwell Close EC1 7.04

This young lady, pretty in pink, brightened up Clerkewell Close EC1

From its junction with Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road EC1 runs south to Blackfriars Bridge. It is Greville Street that climbs the hill up to Hatton Garden in the second picture.

Cowcross Street EC1 7.04

A public house has existed on the site of The Castle in Cowcross Street EC1 from at least the 18th Century. According to Wikipedia “it was once frequented by King George IV, who issued the landlord with a pawnbroker’s licence and handed over his gold watch to obtain some cash after losing money on a cockfight.”

Benjamin Street EC1 7.04

Both Cowcross Street and Benjamin Street EC1 lead to Farringdon Station. The BAR E S on the corner has lost a couple of letters. There is no truth in the rumour that Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd gave Alan Rickman a close shave in these premises.

The 19th century Grand Junction Arms, as refurbished in the 1930s in Praed Street, dwarfed in 2004 by the development of Paddington Basin, at the end of South Wharf Road W2 was, I understand, closed possibly as recently as last year.

Junction Place/Praed Street W2 7.04

Junction Street W2 forms a corner with Praed St,

St Michael's Street W2 7.04

and St Michael’s Street runs parallel to it.

This evening we dined on aromatic lemon chicken; sautéed leeks, peppers, and mushrooms; boiled potatoes and carrots; and Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Lion’s Lair Shiraz 2013.

I Belong to No One releases to the US and Canada on 31st January 2017.

The Reluctant Retiree

I am very excited!

Eighteen months after its original publication date in Australia, my memoir, I Belong to No One, is about to be released in paperback form in the USA and Canada, available on Amazon in each country. The publisher is Orion Books under ISBN-13: 978-1409164890.

This is in addition to the already available Kindle, eBook and Audio Book versions. I am not sure about other people, but I know I still prefer to hold paper in my hands, so I am hoping this will be a welcome release.

31st January is THE day. Just a couple of sleeps away.

I have tried to include links to Amazon but for some reason WordPress keeps reverting them to the Australian website. It is easily found, however, by searching I Belong to No One, Gwen Wilson on your local Amazon site. It may also be available on order through…

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From Antiques To Ancestors

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Recently, Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, cleaned out our chimney and removed the wood-burning stove in order for us to enjoy an open fire next time we run out of oil. Barry recommended Richard at Gordleton Barn to supply the iron basket to hold logs in the grate.

Today we visited

Gordleton Barn entrance 2

Gordleton Barn entrance 1

Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained

mostly wooden artefacts

Log burning stove and scales

and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.

Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout

Interior

this interior reeking history.

Door and window

Fascinating doors, like this one that would no doubt interest Robin Cochran who makes excellent contributions to Norm Frampton’s project, are propped up around the place.

Mask

Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,

Sculpted face

and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.

Scrap yard

Outside in the yard stand various items that may be considered enhanced by a patina of rust.

As it was a fine, warm, day, we continued on a drive through the forest.

Such was the overnight rain that it has added to the ponies’ drinking supply, being particularly helpful in lying in roadside gullies so that, like a human drinking wine with a meal, they can slurp up the water which then drips from their mouths and trails back into the ditches to provide another sup.

Ponies

The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,

Pony

while another watched from the other side of the road.

Moving on, we discovered

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist noticeboard

This church was built in the early 11th century, but there is some speculation that it is much older because three Sarsen stones have been discovered in the foundations. Neither, situated as it is on the top of a hill, is it very near Boldre. The parking referred to is nearer than the parishioners’ one further along the road.

The building itself, entered through a kissing gate,

 is surrounded by an extensive graveyard,

most of the older stones of which are so weathered as to be barely legible.

The William Gilpin Tomb

An exception is this memorial to an 18th century vicar and his wife, who, like everyone else, needed to be pardoned for their repented transgressions.

Jackie was particularly intrigued by the name Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis and the less exotic, to modern ears, of his wife Louise Fanny. They warranted a marble column which bears a legible inscription. The other two sides name their one year old daughter; and a woman whom we assumed to be Jules’s first wife.

Mary's casket

Most graves were marked with stones, but Mary was graced with a stone casket.

Some of the windows were particularly interesting. Through one could be seen the light pattern on an inside wall from a smaller light.

On enlarging the photograph, it should be simple enough for those comfortable with mirror writing to decipher the inscription on this beautifully etched glass. The second picture shows an older window on the other side of the church. I longed to enter the place of worship to gaze at this work of art from inside. Unfortunately, like so many of our churches today, it was firmly locked, denying entrance to nice people like us as well as nefarious thieves and vandals.

A wild garden has been planted around one area. We could see snowdrops just beginning to break the soil, and vowed to return to see this a little later.

Donkey on road

No trip through the forest would be complete without at least one animal blocking the road. This duty was taken on by a drowsy donkey at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, leeks, and peppers, and Jackie’s trademark piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

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Today was warmer and just one uniform shade of grey. This morning we travelled by car to New Milton where I visited the dry cleaners, the post office, and the bank. I collected cleaning, mailed a parcel and some letters, and paid a bill. All rather mundane really.

Jackie drove us on to Mudeford Quay where I went for a wander.

Bench and gulls

On the sheltered side of the quay, not even the gulls occupied the benches.

Crow in flight

A crow took off on my approach.

Boats and Haven House Inn

I imagine most people were patronising the Haven House Inn, beyond the Sailing Club masts

Gull

on the top of one of which perched a gull,

the solitary audience of the jingle jangling rigging orchestral performance.

Most such scavengers harassed those drivers and their passengers taking a break in the car park.

I wonder if anyone has any ideas about what the woman on the spit was seeking. Stones? Shells?

Waves and beach huts

She, of course ventured on the rougher, seaward, side of the harbour, where the waves roared, and no-one emerged from the beach huts.

Waves and buoy 1

A bright orange buoy bobbed on the surface.

Now you see it, now you don’t.

This evening we dined on lemon chicken with perfect carrots, cauliflower, greens, and boiled potatoes, followed by profiteroles. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

Pret

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Jackie drove me to and from New Milton today for me to catch the London train and lunch with Norman at La Barca in Lower Marsh.

On this very cold morning the waiting room was full. Three young women were engaged in an animated conversation available for all to hear. Suddenly they quietened, their eyes span backwards and forwards in their sockets, looking around the room, their voices barely a whisper. The whole room hushed. Silence reigned. I leaned across and, hand over mouth, sotto voce, breathed: “We’re all trying to hear”. Great hilarity all round ensued.

Sleeping bag and belongings

Underneath the arches by the bus stops beside Waterloo Station, someone’s home was piled up. It is not unusual to see sleeping bags and carriers containing sorry belongings in our capital city. I don’t normally photograph them because they are usually occupied and it seems an invasion of what privacy the unfortunate street dwellers have. I can only imagine that the person who left these had gone off somewhere to warm up. Perhaps behind the air vents of an eating establishment such as

Pret window 4

New building

Less than a year ago foundations were being laid for the building of which this establishment occupies the ground floor. To our left of this photograph can be seen Lower Marsh where Norman and I lunched.

Part of the popular Pret a Manger chain, this branch has caught on quickly.

Cubana Street Food Bar

Also visible in the panoramic shot, behind the buses, is the Cuban restaurant outside which stands their Cubana Street Food Bar. Steam rising from the dishes on display looked very welcoming.

In the warmth inside La Barca Norman and I enjoyed a well-filled chickpea soup followed by Fegato alla Veneziana and Polenta served with perfect sugar snaps, broccoli, green beans and roast potatoes. We shared a bottle of a 2015 Montepulciano.